Ten Series I Could Reread Forever

Top Ten Tuesday - That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature previously hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish and have now been moved over to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is books we can reread forever, but I’m twisting it a bit to show book series instead. Here are my picks:

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
thick-as-thieves

The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein
The Winter Prince ebook A Coalition of Lions ebook The Sunbird ebook The Lion Hunter ebook The Empty Kingdom ebook

The Damar books by Robin McKinley
The Hero and the Crown Blue Sword

The Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier
Daughter of the Forest Son of the Shadows

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Magic Bites Magic Burns Magic Strikes Magic Bleeds Magic Slays

Magic Rises Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Magic Shifts magic-binds

The Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews
Burn for Me White Hot Wildfire

The London Celebrities books by Lucy Parker
Act Like It pretty face

Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand
The Chocolate Thief The Chocolate Kiss The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Heart The Chocolate Temptation The Chocolate Rose - new cover

La vie en Roses series by Laura Florand
Once Upon a Rose redesign A Wish Upon Jasmine redesign A Crown of Bitter Orange A Kiss in Lavender

Chic Manila series by Mina V. Esguerra
My Imaginary Ex - 2017 Fairy Tale Fail 2017 No Strings Attached_New Cover Love Your Frenemies - 2018 edition That Kind of Guy 2017

Welcome to Envy Park What You Wanted 2018 Iris After the IncidentBetter At Weddings Than You cover

Have you read any of these books? What about you, what are books or series that you can keep rereading over and over again?

WWW Wednesdays: September 11

WWW Wednesdays

WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next.

I’ve seen WWW Wednesdays around the blogosphere but this is the first time that I’m participating. You know when you feel like publishing a post on the blog but don’t have the energy to write a review? I think memes like WWW Wednesdays are a good idea for times like these.

Butterfly SwordsWhat you’re currently reading: I’m currently in the middle of Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin, a Chinese historical romance. I’m enjoying it so far and I find it interesting because this is the first time I’ve read an Asian historical romance.

Blue Sword

What you recently finished reading: I just finished rereading one of my favorite novels, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. It’s this month’s pick for our book club discussion. It was just as lovely as I remember it and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of rereading it. I need more books like that in my life.

Eleanor and Park US

What you think you’ll read next: I haven’t read any contemporary novels, both adult and YA, in a while so I’m thinking I can read either Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell or Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty next. Or any other contemporary book in my TBR pile.

What about the rest of you, care to answer the three questions above?

September 2013 Releases

I don’t usually post releases per month but since there are several titles that I’m looking forward to in September, I wanted to talk about them here. All of these are books written by authors I’m familiar with, which is why I’m excited to read them.

Snow-KissedRitual MagicThe Dream ThievesWhere the Stars Still ShineShadows

September 1: Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand – I already have a galley of this but I haven’t read it yet so I wanted to include it in this list. Yay for a new Laura Florand novella!

Summary from Goodreads: After the utter destruction of her marriage and her happiness, Kai knew it was better to shut herself away from the world than to hurt and be hurt. Holed up in her mountain cabin, she planned to spend her Christmas alone. Until her not-quite-ex-husband shows up as the first flakes start to fall. Now should she send him back out into the cold? Or can she be brave enough to let this winter snow bind them back together?

September 3: Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi #10) by Eileen Wilks – You all know that I’ve been going through the World of the Lupi books the past few weeks. The tenth book has just been released! I’m still in the middle of the ninth book but I have a feeling I will be reading this one by the end of this week (or even earlier). Sigh, I don’t know what I’ll do when I have to wait another year for the next installment to be released.

Summary from Goodreads: On her 57th birthday, Lily’s mother suddenly loses all memory beyond the age of twelve. Lily knows her mother was attacked by something more than magic. More… and darker.

When Lily and Rule discover that others suffered the same, mysterious loss — at the same time on the same night—their investigation into the darkness begins. Joining them is someone Lily never thought she’d see again: Al Drummond, who once tried to destroy her. He also happens to be dead. But the mysterious attacks were caused by a power strong enough to affect matters beyond the world of the living.

With some victims losing years of memory and others their lives, Lily must discover what on earth — or beyond — connects them.

September 17: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – I have seen nothing but praises in the blogosphere about the sequel of The Raven Boys. I look forward to reading about Blue and the boys again.

Summary from Goodreads: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

September 24: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller – I really enjoyed reading Something Like Normal last year and I can’t wait to read Trish Doller’s latest. I’ve seen the snippets that she’s posted on Tumblr and they’ve made me look forward to this release.

Summary from Goodreads: Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love – even with someone who seems an improbable choice – is more than just a possibility.

September 27: Shadows by Robin McKinley – I’m a big fan of Robin McKinley’s writing and I’m so excited she has a new book this year (even if it’s not the sequel to Pegasus, which I’m still anxiously waiting for). This is bound to be a good one.

Summary from Goodreads: Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But—more importantly—what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.

Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too—and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know . . . until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.

In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive.

I’m looking forward to reading these! What about you, are you excited for any September releases?

Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light and Fun

Top Ten Tuesday2

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is such a good one. I love light and fun reads because I feel like they come in handy whenever I feel like a book slump is about to occur. Or when I want to cleanse my reading palate after reading a dense fantasy novel or an emotionally heavy book. I don’t have to be in a certain mood to read books like the ones I’ve included here, I can just pick them up whenever I want to read something that’s easy to get into. In no particular order, here are my top ten light reads:

I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler – Bantam’s Love Stories series was the YA series to follow back when I was a teen. These two by Elizabeth Chandler are my favorites. I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve reread these.

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – I feel like I’m a broken record because I keep saying this but Mina is my favorite Filipino chick lit author. I could relate to her novels because they’re about young Filipino women and her books are set in the Philippines.

Something About You by Julie James – All of Julie James’ romances are filled with a healthy dose of humor, which is why I enjoy reading them. Something About You is the first in her FBI/US Attorney series and my favorite so far. There’s just something about main characters who keep bickering to hide their attraction.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Such a swoon-worthy novel set in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Really enjoyed the tension between Anna and Etienne.

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand – Another novel set in Paris! But adult contemporary romance instead of YA. Couldn’t help but feel good whenever I read Laura Florand’s novels – I’m a fan of how she combines romance with delicious food.

Laduree macarons

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – This one might not be considered light because the main characters have to deal with some pretty serious issues but there’s something magical about the writing that makes it so much fun to read.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – The first Eva Ibbotson novel that I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites. I love the fairy tale feel of this historical fiction novel.

Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this since I’m not a sci-fi girl. I didn’t get confused by the details of the sci-fi setting and I really liked the romance

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – I could relate to Harry’s thirst for adventure and I loved living vicariously through her (and all other strong female characters I admire).

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – I know, I know. A book riddled with political intrigue isn’t usually considered light fare but I’ve reread this book so many times that it has just become a comfort read. Plus, Gen is always good for some laughs.

I’ve noticed that most of my picks for light reads are contemporary novels and that ALL of them have some kind of romance in them. It sure looks like I enjoy a well-written love story in my feel good reads. Do you agree with some of my choices? What are some of your own favorite light reads?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday2

I’ve been wanting to participate in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) for a while now but I keep forgetting about it. I only remember when I see tweets from other bloggers and by that time, it’s already Wednesday in my side of the world. Fortunately, I looked up the topic ahead of this week so now I get to put up my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post! Most of the books that I read nowadays are recommendations from trusted book bloggers and friends. Because there are so many reading choices out there, I rarely read books just based on the cover and synopsis. Back before I started blogging, that’s how I found out about books though. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites before I started my blog in 2010:

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – I can still remember seeing the pretty cover, illustrated by Alison Jay, and thinking that the book looks like something that I’d enjoy reading even if I wasn’t that familiar with the original Goose Girl story. My instincts were right, I fell in love with The Goose Girl and it’s still one of my favorite fairy tale retellings. It was an added bonus that I discovered other favorite titles through Shannon Hale’s recommendations in her blog.

Goose Girl_Alison Jay

The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner – My love for MWT’s books knows no bounds, I even organized a Queen’s Thief Week to celebrate her work. I’m always curious whenever a review mentions writing or characters similar to MWT’s (although more often than not, I get disappointed because my expectations are so high). I’m so glad Shannon Hale featured MWT on her blog because that’s how I discovered this amazing series. Before my blog, I usually got ideas of what to read from Sounis, the LiveJournal community for MWT fans. I was pretty active there back when I was still using LiveJournal.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith – Another title that I discovered through Shannon Hale’s blog! During the time I discovered Crown Duel, I was starting to realize that I have a thing for fantasy novels and it definitely fit the bill. I also loved how nice and friendly Sherwood is to her fans, she’s quite active in the Athanarel LiveJournal community (another source of excellent recommendations before I started my blog). I was lucky enough to meet her in person when we had a Sounis/Athanarel meet up back in 2009:

Sounis Athanarel Meet Up

I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler – I’ve talked about the Love Stories series several times here on the blog. That was the series that I closely followed as a teenage girl and Elizabeth Chandler’s I Do and At First Sight are my favorites. I can even remember the number of times I’ve reread these books. They’re out of print titles, otherwise I’d probably get duplicates because my copies are so battered.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – I remember borrowing a copy of this from a college friend and I knew after finishing that I had to get my own copy. I got a paperback that I let my friends borrow and also a graphic novel edition because the artwork by Charles Vess is just lovely.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman – I read this trilogy back in college, based on the recommendation of a classmate. It was during finals week and I was supposed to be studying instead of reading for pleasure but I couldn’t help it, the series was just too good to put down.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I found out about this series in high school. It was my mom who got me started on Harry Potter, she got me copies of the first four books that were out then. After that, I eagerly waited for the release date of books five to seven. I had to watch the movies in cinemas as soon as they were shown too. I followed this series from high school to college up until I started working. I really am part of the Harry Potter generation, it was a part of my life for so many years.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – This series is one of my childhood favorites. I discovered it because some of the titles were available in my grade school library. Unfortunately, they didn’t have all of the books in the series. I only got to read the entire series when I ordered copies online when I was in high school (bookstores in Manila didn’t have such great stocks back then). I get the feeling that I can read the Narnia books as an adult and I would love them just as much as I did when I was a kid.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – Here’s another title that I found interesting because of the cover and title. I checked the premise at the back and thought that the book looked like something I’d enjoy reading. I was right. This was my first taste of Eva Ibbotson’s writing and she quickly became a favorite author after I finished reading this.

A Countess Below Stairs

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – I love kick ass heroines in fantasy novels and Harry is one of my favorites. I’m a fan of girls who take matters into their own hands, instead of waiting to be saved or rescued by someone else. Each of Robin McKinley’s novels has a heroine like that, which is why she’s an auto-read author for me.

I guess I cheated because I included trilogies and series in my list but I couldn’t really help it, there are just way too many good books out there. I had a hard enough time narrowing down my list. What about you, what are some of your favorite books that you read before you started your blog? How did you discover them?

Shoot That Book: Roses and Robin McKinley

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

We dropped by Dangwa, a flower market where you can get really affordable flowers, yesterday. My mom was in the mood to make the house look pretty. We ended up getting these for only P1000 (20 USD) or so:

Dangwa Flowers

I know I’ve already featured Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword in a Shoot That Book post before but I couldn’t resist doing it again using those roses. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors and she has two Beauty and the Beast retellings: Beauty and Rose Daughter. Roses are pretty important in both stories and I love how both of the covers go well with the bouquet:

STB Robin McKinley

STB Robin McKinley2

Beautiful, right? Also, I thought I’d take a picture of this – some of my Starbucks tumblers doubling as vases:

I love how flowers brighten up any day. Have you read Beauty or Rose Daughter? I recommend both titles to fans of fairy tale retellings. I enjoy reading retellings so feel free to recommend your own favorites.

Shoot That Book: The Blue Sword

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

Pictured above is my friend Chuchay, who read The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley based on my recommendation. She loved it and said that it’s one of the best books that she’s read. I love this shot because of several reasons – it’s a lomo shot that turned out really well (love the warm colors), it was taken by the beach and shows a friend of mine reading one of my favorite books. What’s not to like? 🙂

What are some books that you’ve recommended to your friends that they’ve ended up loving?

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I’ve never read a book about Robin Hood before. I think that most of what I know about him comes from the cartoons that I used to watch on TV as a kid. I have a vague idea of his story but I don’t know the details. So it was interesting to pick up Robin McKinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood and read about one of the most popular thieves in fiction. This is an oldie but goodie that I bought from Better World Books. I would’ve probably read it earlier if the book was available here because Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors. Also, Angie has this book on her Beloved Bookshelf and that made me want to read the book more.

Here’s the summary from Robin McKinley’s website:

Robin is an apprentice forester in the woods of Nottingham, but the sheriff’s men harass him at every opportunity. When he accidentally kills a man in self-defense, he flees into Sherwood Forest, knowing he will live the rest of his days as a hunted man.

But his friends believe the disaster is also an opportunity: an opportunity for a few stubborn Saxons to gather in secret under Robin’s leadership and strike back against the arrogance and brutality of the Norman overlords.

Robin McKinley’s Robin Hood surprised me in the sense that he didn’t behave the way I expected someone who leads a band of outlaws to behave. He was very much a reluctant leader from start to finish. I imagined him to be a merry kind of thief, eager to be an outlaw and passionate about leading his people against their oppressors. Instead, we get a Robin who’s very practical and whose primary concern is to protect the people he’s responsible for. When he accidentally kills a man, he was resigned to his fate and he didn’t even want to bring down others with him. But his friends are steadfast and loyal and they insisted on sticking by him. Another surprising thing is that Robin’s not much of an archer in this retelling. Marian is the one who can direct an arrow wherever she wants it to go. Can I just say that I love how there’s always a strong heroine in any McKinley book? This one is no exception and Marian is such a wonderful character. Against Robin’s wishes, she leads a double life as an outlaw in Sherwood Forest and as a lady in the town of Nottingham. Go Marian! Some of the other outlaws – like Little John, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck – are fully developed and their individual stories are highlighted just as much as Robin’s is.

I believe The Outlaws of Sherwood is a good literary introduction to Robin Hood’s story (or maybe I’m just biased because I love Robin McKinley) and I hope more people get to read this. Who wouldn’t love a story about a group of people fighting for a better life by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor? It’s one of the best kinds of stories out there. Yay for thieves who believe in a cause! Thieves in fiction are awesome. There’s also a bit of romance in the book but I think the theme of friendship is much more evident. It’s a quiet kind of story and the writing reminded me of Chalice and Pegasus even if those two are fantasy and this one is historical fiction. I recommend this book to all fans of Robin McKinley, Robin Hood and historical fiction. Sorry for all the Robins in there, I hope it doesn’t create confusion. I already have a copy of Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson on hand and I’m eager to see the similarities and differences between these two Robin Hood retellings.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Angieville
Emily’s Reading Room
Fyrefly’s Book Blog
It’s All About Books
Aelia Reads

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Pegasus was my Want Books pick last weekend because this is one of my most anticipated books this year. Robin McKinley is one of my all-time favorite authors and I’ve been looking forward to Pegasus ever since I saw the summary and the snippets that she posted. I called Fully Booked every day just to inquire if they already have copies. Thankfully, I got a copy (for P798) early this week and I started reading it as soon as I could.

Here’s the summary from Robin McKinley’s website:

A gorgeously-written fantasy about the friendship between a princess and her pegasus

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But it’s different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close — so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo — and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

First things first, look at that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love how it captures the essence of the book – a girl in a field looking up at a pegasus soaring through the sky. Even though they’re far apart, you can see that there’s an invisible thread connecting the girl and the pegasus. The good news is that the inside is just as beautiful as the cover. I’m sure several blogger friends will agree when I say that there’s nothing like reading a Robin McKinley novel. She had me at “Because she was a princess she had a pegasus.” which was the first line of the book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about pegasi before and they’re fascinating creatures. I loved how intricate the worldbuilding was – it included a detailed history of the pegasi and how they started an alliance with the humans who came to their land. Ever since then, each human with royal blood has been bound to a pegasus to strengthen the alliance. It hasn’t been successful though because of the language barrier. If I could, I’d want to visit that world because I’d love to have my own pegasus. I’m a fan of fantasy novels with court settings when they’re done well and this world had that. There was complexity in the intrigue of court politics but it never became overwhelming. The writing is everything that I find delightful in a McKinley novel – lyrical, lovely and has an overall fairy tale feel to it.

I saw this quote over at Sarah Rees Brennan’s blog when she interviewed Robin:

“The story I tell over and over and over and over is Beauty and the Beast. It all comes from there. There are variations on the theme – and it’s inside out or upside down sometimes – but the communication gap between one living being and another is pretty much the ground line. And usually the gap-bridger is love.”

Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale but I never recognized that recurring theme in all of Robin’s books. It’s much more evident in Pegasus because of Sylvi and Ebon’s platonic relationship (although I kept thinking of Sarah Rees Brennan’s insinuations that they have something more while I was reading). It’s a good thing that I knew going in that this was just the first half of the story and that the book ends on a major cliffhanger so I wasn’t put off when I reached that part. Of course, I WANT to read the rest of the story right now but I’m willing to wait until 2012 because it hasn’t been written yet. I feel like the whole book is mostly about buildup – the relationship of the pegasi and the humans, the history of the kingdom, its present situation and the rising problems. It will all lead to something and I have a feeling that much more will happen in the second half of the story. As such, I think Pegasus can be described as a quiet sort of novel and that kind of thing might not be for everyone. In terms of pacing and writing style, Pegasus reminded me of Chalice but it also has echoes of The Blue Sword in it in the sense that two races/species are brought together (aside from that, there’s a sword that made me think of Gonturan and a legendary ancestor similar to Aerin). If you’re the type who doesn’t like cliffhanger endings then I recommend that you wait for the second half but if you’re a huge McKinley fan like me, then I know you’d still read this even knowing that’s it’s just the first half of the story. If you’ve never read a McKinley before (and why not?!), I suggest that you start with either Beauty or The Blue Sword.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
By Singing Light
The Eager Readers
Bookyurt
Paperback Dolls

Interviews with Robin about Pegasus:
Charlotte’s Library
Sarah Rees Brennan’s blog
Holly Black’s blog
The Enchanted Inkpot

Author Love

I’ve mentioned before that although I haven’t read all of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, I’m still a fan. I’m also a huge fan of Robin McKinley and I have copies of most of her books. When Neil Gaiman came here this year, I attended his book signing. So I was really happy to see Neil Gaiman’s tweet the day before yesterday and he even uploaded this picture:

It looks like Neil and Robin visited Diana Wynne Jones! I didn’t even know that they knew each other. Don’t you find it amazing when some of your favorite authors are friends? I think it’s great that they get together in real life. I have a feeling that so much awesomeness occurs when they do. Robin also wrote about the visit in her blog.

What do you guys think of this? Are you fans of all three authors? If you haven’t heard of them, I highly suggest that you look them up and try their books. I recommend that you start with Howl’s Moving Castle by DWJ, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. 🙂